Monday, November 1, 2010

Handel - Trio Sonatas - Trevor Pinnock,The English Concert







Handel's trio sonatas have taken a long time, a surprisingly long time considering the quality of their music, to attract the attention of the record companies. The performances here are a delight, vigorous in the quick movements, yet always light-footed and alert, and with an easy, natural rhythmic flow which keeps the contrapuntal interplay happily clear. Tempos are lively but never excessive. In the slow movements, in fact, the players occasionally seem to dawdle somewhat: the Largo of HWV393, for example, does not repay so attentively expressive an approach, and the same is probably true of that of Op. 2 No. I. Still, any error is certainly in the right direction, and the sound these players make on their period instruments (there is a flute in Op. 2 No. I; the rest are for two violins) is exceptionally clear and sweet.
There is properly very little added ornamentation, and what there is sounds natural and unpremeditated, as if the players have been momentarily overtaken by sheer exuberance and throw in their extra notes as if they just couldn't help themselves. HWV393, I should mention, has to be regarded as a doubtful work—there is no dependable source for it—but this G minor Sonata has long been a favourite among violinists and Justifiably so; whoever wrote it was certainly very nearly as good a composer as Handel. Op. 5 No. 2 includes versions of some attractive ballet movements from Ariodante, Op. 5 No. 4 has music from Athalia (it makes a wonderfully dashing start to the record), and Op. 2 No. 4 shares music with Es/her and an organ concerto—the Larghetto third movement is taken quite slowly here and built up into a climax of remarkable poignancy. In this movement, and more particularly in the superb Passecaille of Op. 5 No. 4, the character of the performance seems strikingly Purcellian, a fascinating and apt reminder of one of the traditions in which Handel was working. The playing in the A major solo violin sonata however is appropriately more Corellian; the realization of the improvisatory little third movement here is particularly telling, an effective moment of contemplative expression between a pair of quick movements.--S.S.




  1. Thank you very much for bringing this recording to my attention dear Otto. I've issued an order for it on Amazon right away. :-D

  2. I can only hope you ordered it through my website
    my friend ;-)



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